About Solar Energy
Through the ages, mankind has depended on the sun for heat and light. Technologies developed over the past half century, however, have changed the way we harness renewable solar energy.
The passive use of solar energy has been used for thousands of years. Architecture dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times took into account the sun's path through the sky when positioning their buildings. Today, buildings taking advantage of passive solar energy have large, south-facing windows harness the natural heat and light. Thick walls can be used to absorb heat during the daytime and discharge it when the sun goes down.
Solar energy can be harnessed actively with the use of photovoltaic solar panels to heat or cool our homes and power our energy consuming lifestyles.
Solar panels used to generate electricity are flat panels that that hold a number of photovoltaic or solar cells. Photovoltaic cells are tiny, crystalline, semiconductor structures made from silicon with boron and phosphorous added. When stimulated by the sun's rays, the cell produces an electrical current.
The ideal location for solar panels is facing south for daylong exposure, and away from the shade of trees or other buildings. In some cases, eastern or western exposure will work. When solar energy is used to generate electricity, the system must be connected to the electrical power grid. You receive credit for all of the energy you produce for the grid, minus what you consume. This is called net metering